Monthly Archives: May 2009

Kentucky Fried Tofu Bowl

What if the colonel had a pink haired grandaughter that took over the company and changed it to Kentucky Fried Tofu and instead of commercial featuring flying pieces of dead birds they had flying pieces of tofu. Would people still protest the company but for different reasons? Would the food still be gross?

These are the topics that we could have discussed while eating my version of KFC’s bowls. Actually, the inspiration came from something we used to eat at summer camp, fried fish mixed with mashed potatoes and corn. I didn’t feel like cooking and this seemed like an easy and hilarious meal to replicate.  I bought popcorn tofu and canned corn from Wheatsville, made some mashed potatoes with sauted garlicky kale so I wouldn’t feel totally deprived of any nutrition, and leftover gravy. Everyone really liked their bowls but who doesn’t like popcorn tofu?

Summertime

Lazy Smurf’s photo guide to enjoying summer:

First find a hammockIf a hammock can not be found a sleeping bag in a sunny spot will workThen find someone to grill for you, even if he uses too much lighter fluid, do not start an argument

Instead enjoy a fruity cocktail

Find some nostalgic songs about summer to listen too

and remember when you used to spend all summer hangin’ out

If you go somewhere remember in summer that flip flops are the only acceptable alternative to bare feetIf you are by the ocean you can go surfingIf you don’t you can still rock out to the beach boys

You can ride your bike

And find somewhere that you can go swimmingMaybe you will find a magical place that has a  swim up bar AND hammocks so much the better Finally, eat lots of good food outside

We got these little corn holders for Christmas and finally got to bust them out for Memorial Day! I was so excited, the grilled corn was really good, I soaked it first in water for 10 minutes, rubbed it with olive oil, and sealed it back in it’s husk before grilling. I also roasted the asparagus on the grill and made BLT burgers out of seitan with bacon bits and an avocado filling from Just the Food. They were really easy to make and very flavorful!

But DON’T let your dogs enjoy the leftover corn cobs

Even though it was really cute at the time they threw them up the next day. Ew.

And finally, take after Dinger and find a cool spot for a nice nap

Grilled Vegan Pizza

Memorial Day starts the official summer season for me even though it has been unofficially summer since I saw my the first firefly on the same day as I got my first red tomato. Memorial Day makes it official because when I was growing up that was the weekend that the water park opened up and I loved the water park. Wait, I still love the water park I just never get to go here in Texas because it is an hour away. This summer it is going to happen! In my summer enthusiasm I decided to grill some pizzas. Unfortunately I ran headlong into the project without doing any research and though my pizzas were good, I have a lot to learn! I made the dough recipe from Vegan Lunch Box and maybe I overworked the dough because it came out really hard. I decided to make mini pizzas so that I could experiment with the technique. The first one I tried was peaches and olives with some sage and some chives on top.It was a great combination but I should have grilled the crust on both sides before putting on the toppings because the bottom got over-grilled (I think another word for that is burned).

The next one I grilled on both sides first before topping but I should have done it for a shorter time or maybe the grill was too hot because this one got a little crispy as well. Plus, tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and mushrooms was a great combo but would have been so much better with a tofu riccota base.The last one was maybe the best (I liked the peach a lot, but it was burned). The grill wasn’t as hot when I put it on so it didn’t get as hard. The topping were Zucchini, Tomato, Olives, Mushrooms, and Garlic. So here is what I have learned, oil the crust and grill it on both sides before you put the toppings on. Have all the toppings ready to go before you start otherwise you can’t keep on eye on the grill, use lots of toppings in general, and most importantly; add lots of olives and everything will be yummy regardless of what happens.

Oh, and have beagles around to eat any excess crust.

Tempeh Salad Sandwich

Yesterday was another wonderful trip the Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market. I couldn’t believe that tomato season appears to be ending, there were only a couple let (I might have just gotten there later than usual). Everyone seemed to have tons of produce however and it was really difficult to make decisions. I got some beautiful carrots, spring onions, peaches, tomatoes, and I can never resist mushrooms and Kombucha.I also had some inari sushi that was fabulous and the guy assured me that it was vegan.

For lunch we were busy doing things around the house so I wanted something very simple and decided since I had veganaise for another recipe I would try to make chicken salad sandwiches with tempeh. I was never a big fan of chicken/potato/tuna salads in my pregen days (unless my grandma made it) because I don’t like raw celery. So in my version I used carrot instead and fresh herbs and vegetables. It was pretty great, totally unlike what you get at the store which once again goes to show, if you want good food it is best to make it yourself.

And look at that tomato! My god, I love summer. Tempeh Salad

8oz of tempeh, cubed
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup veganaise
1 scallion, minced
4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced
2 leaves of sage, minced
1/4 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp vegeta broth powder
salt & pepper

Simmer to tempeh in enough water to cover it with 1 Tablespoon or so of soy sauce for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool, I was in a hurry so I put some ice cubes along with the tempeh in the freezer and it was cold by the time I was ready for it. Prep all the vegetables and herbs and toss until they are well incorporated. In a larger bowl measure out the veganaise and whip it with a whisk or a fork until light and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients together and carefully toss. Enjoy!

Barbecued Tacos

Here is another great taco idea, I cooked some lentils in water on the stove, made BBQ sauce, marinated an onion in lime juice and steamed some greens and the tortillas over the lentil pot. If I hadn’t made my own Barbecue sauce the work, including prep, would have taken 10 minutes and then the lentils just had to cook for 40 minutes or so. When everything was ready I just mixed the lentils and the BBQ sauce, put the steamed greens, the lentils, the onions and some cilantro on the flour tortilla and then ate these glorious tacos. This meal is pretty healthy too if you make you use a sauce that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

Pignoli & Portobello Pasta

This pasta is a beautiful combination of recipes that Mr. Smurf made for us. The spinach pasta had a simple dressing of toasted pignoli nuts, parsely, lemon, and garlic and is a recipe from Dreena Burton‘s Eat Drink and Be Vegan. The balsamic marinated mushrooms from the Veganomicon added a special note of sweetness to the dish. It was fabulous, I love big spinach noodles.

Star Trek Feast

I can’t find the picture that I have of the 7th grade version of me dressed in full Star Trek the Next Generation starfleet uniform. I really wanted to post it. I am surround by two Klingons that are dressed so well you would think they stepped out of the future. When I was in 6th grade my best friend, Amanda, and I even reenacted an episode, casting all of our (girl) friends as Picard and Riker etc. I was a very belieable Worf, well as believable as a 6th grade girl can be.

So yeah, I was am a nerd. I don’t go to Sci-fi conventions any more but I did live in my mom’s basement for a while. And you know what? Now I blog about food that I made. So if you see me walking down the street you can yell “NERD” all you want and I will take it as a compliment. There aren’t many people, I would wager, who simultaneously had a crush on Captain Picard AND Wesley Crusher. I can also identify the season of the next generation by the shape of Riker’s beard.

I have been recently revisiting my Star Trek roots in anticipation of the new movie, listening to podcasts, watching the original series on the Roku and Deep Space 9 on DVD from Netflix (why do they have to be so expensive?). I have also been thinking about all the food and how good it would be. I was lucky enough to see the new movie with a glass of Romulan Ale in my hand (thank you Alamo Drafthouse) following this feast.

I made Bajoran Hasperat. It is based on Lolo’s version at Vegan Yum Yum except with the addition of a large sausage shaped chikpea cutlet, some extra spices (sumac & smoked paprika) and golden beets instead of carrots. Everyone really liked them and the guys even had them for breakfast the next day.

I also had gaeta olives on the side that were supposed to be in the wrap. Mmm Gaeta.

I roasted Ferengi Tube Grubs (Fiddlehead Ferns) and Asparagus for the side dish that were made palatable by the addition of Cardassian Yamok Sauce

the sauce was basically white beans sauteed with garlic, onions, tarragon, and lemon and then blended with a few green olives.

We had it on potatoes too, I loved it and it inspired the next night’s meal. I will post the recipe if anyone is interested it was perfect for the season.

Here is Amanda and I forcing her boyfriend to give the Vulcan salute,  it is sad that neither of our boyfriends are Trekkies, they have thier own nerd activities though, I promise.

My favorite part of watching the new movie was that Amanda was sitting next to me and every time someone gave the customary hand greeting Amanda did it too. (NERD!!!!)

The best part of the whole meal, though, was the Earl Grey cupcakes, they are an alteration from the chai cupcakles in Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. I made the frosting from the book that uses Agave and coconut butter instead of sugar and margarine and it was divine. Mr. Smurf doesn’t even like frosting on cakes usually and he was eating the leftovers with a spoon.

It was a good meal.

What are you a nerd about?

PS- the cupcake background is from http://hubblesite.org/gallery/wallpaper/ they have lots of great images

Vegan Klingon Gagh

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip . ..

Tom Robbins Jitterbug Perfume

Does that mean that Beets are inherently Klingon? Especially when you consider that the Kingons were based on the USSR….

Obama doesn’t like beets but I think they are a perfect food, they are even the name of a fake pop band. Eastern European countries are especially known for their love of the beet, most notably used in Borscht. Most Westerners usually roast them in the oven or cut them up into salads or they roast them and then add them to salads.  Beets are also used to sweeten some dishes.

Healthy types enjoy beets not just because of their taste but also because they have many desirable nutritional qualities.

RawVeg.info says they are both detoxifying and full of antioxidants

Beets are another high-antoxidant veggie, with an ORAC score of 1840, and a total antioxidant concentration of 1.98. They contain many healthful substances: betaine (aka: trimethylglycine, TMG), betalains, betacyanin, betanin, folate, iron, and fiber. Betaine helps convert homocysteine into methionine, preventing heart disease.

Beet fiber seems to be particularly health-promoting. Pectin, a soluble fiber in beets, binds toxins, heavy metals, and excess hormones that have been dumped into the gut from the liver. The toxins are passed out instead of being reabsorbed.

Some people say that beets can even extend your life.

I like to buy them at the farmer’s market with the greens attached because then it is two meals for the price of one. The beet greens have a similar nutritional profile to Swiss chard and mixed with the beet root they are pretty much an unstoppable force of goodness.

Cruising the net the other day I came across a very strange recipe that utilized both the root and the leafy part in a pasta dish. Beets and Greens pasta moved to the top of my list of recipes to try since I just got some at the farmer’s market on Saturday. The meal was quick, easy, and fantastic. Mr. Smurf gobbled it down like he had been standing in a line all day waiting for beets.The noodles turned intensely fuchsia from the beet juice which might even make it kid friendly. Beets are very earthy tasting though so maybe not.

I changed the recipe just a little bit and later realized how much it resembled a certain Klingon dish so I give you:

Gagh

Ingredients

1 bunch beets, with greens, divided and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1  small onion, diced
.5 tsp dried red pepper flakes
5  garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1  cup vegetable broth
3  Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2  Tbsp. each of  basil and chives
Salt & pepper
½ lbs linguine

First, get a pot of water going for the pasta and then prep all the other ingredients. When the water is boiling add cook the pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, saute the onion and red pepper flakes until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic and the beet roots. After another minute or two when the beets are soft add the broth, the zest, and the beet greens. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted. Add the herbs, the lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for another minute before you toss with the pasta.

Enjoy with (vegan) Bloodwine!

The Daily Juice Cafe

Suddenly Austin is having an explosion of Raw Food. It used to be that the only all vegan places in town were Casa de Luz and the raw vegan bar at Whole Foods.  Now another place opened on 6th street called Borbloleta and a Cafe called Beets is still set to open as well on 5th street. I did a raw diet for a while back when the original Daily Juice was the only game in town. At their original location on Barton Springs they had a takeaway service with some raw sushi and a couple other items. It must have done really well for them because they opened a couple other locations including the Daily Juice Cafe in Hyde Park.  I went for the first time a couple weeks ago with my Mom and we really liked it so when I had the day off yesterday I took Mr. Smurf for a wild romp up to North Austin. I wish I would have taken some pictures of the interior, it is really nice and soothing with concrete floors, wooden tables, and natural light from big windows. It reminded me of Costa Rica it has a strong hippie vibe complete with a chill room and outdoor seating. There is a huge menu of mostly juice and smoothies and a little menu of entrees that has maybe seven items, including salads and they also have a couple of different specials. We got soup to start that was coconut curry, it was very Indian inspired a as you can see from the pictures turmeric was a key player.

Mr. Smurf got the BBQ coconut meat sandwich on Chia Seed bread. The cracker was a little too intense for me but I loved the coconut meat flavor and the sprouts were a nice contrast.

I was going to get the Thai Noodle bowl but it sold out right before I ordered which made me really sad so instead I got the enchilada plate which turned out to be the best thing we ordered. I had a very strange moment when they asked me if I wanted the mole filling or the cheese and I said “cheese”, but don’t worry it was sprouted sunflower seed cheese so it was vegan and completely delicious. I really want to try and make it at home. I have tried to make quite a few cooked cheeses but have stayed away from raw seed cheeses for a while and I can’t figure out why. They are so good and much better for you then soy products. There is a macadamia nut cheese in Raw Food Real World that I remember being really great. I would love to have the recipe for this one. The sauce on top was unrecognizable to me but it was very good and perfectly contrasted with the crunchy kale. The coconut cilantro tortillas were fantastic. I liked them a lot more than the sandwich bread. But it was altogether way too much food. I only ate half the plate and a couple bite of soup before I was ready for a nap.

All and all it was a great meal but next time I will go for the half portions so that I don’t spend the next two hours in a food coma.  I can’t believe two more raw places are opening! They are going to have a tough time if they want to be better than the Daily Juice.

Vegan Panuchos for Cinco de Mayo

I have learned a lot about traditional Mexican ingredients from Diana Kennedy’s book From My Mexican Kitchen. Although at times it can be very tedious and she often suffers from a xenocentric point of view I love  the exhaustive information about traditional ingredients and styles in Mexican cooking. The book explains many techniques and although there aren’t a lot of recipes there are several great sections including one on antojitos (Mexican Tapas). I have been obsessed with the panucho method and pictures since I saw it; the idea is that you make some stewed beans and then stuff them in the middle of a tortilla, fry them up, and then top them with whatever you like.

Ms Kennedy recommended topping them with marinated onions which I also tried for the first time and loved! I couldn’t find any of her suggested ingredients so I marinated the onions in lime juice and a little orange juice for a couple hours. They were so good and added a lot of sweetness to the dish, I will make them in the future as a taco topping.

For the Yucatán style beans I cooked black beans in a crockpot with some salt and bay leaves. When they were done I sauteed a 1/4 cup of chopped onion, a Tablespoon of epazote, and a whole habanero. Then I took 3.5 cups of Black Beans and their broth, blended them, and then added them to spices and cooked until the texture of a paste was achieved, about 15 minutes.

Then it was onward to the the tortillas! I had fresh masa so all I had to do was roll pieces into a ball and then cook them on the stove over medium heat. You flip them once, just after the bottom starts to change color, again for the top side, and then flip it once more and if you are lucky it puffs up.

Then you very carefully make a slit in the side of the tortillas and open it up like a pocket.

You then stuff some of the bean paste inside.

Then you flatten the tortilla back together and pan fry it!Then I covered them with vegan chorizo and the marinated onions.I also made some pico de gallo with the first tomatoes of the season. Hooray for the return of the tomato!

Dinger got really worn out from watching me cookWillow remained steadfast at her post waiting for food to fall

Then I at too many panuchos because they were really awesome.

mmm panuchos